US Pedestrian Deaths Have Reached a 30-Year High

Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

Pedestrian deaths have just reached their highest point in the last 30 years in the US, according to NPR (https://www.npr.org/2019/03/28/706481382/why-pedestrian-deaths-are-at-a-30-year-high).

Across the country, there were 6,227 pedestrian deaths in 2018, which is the highest number recorded in close to three decades. This finding came from a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), which also showed that a lot of these deaths happened in big cities like Miami and Houston.

People having to walk on roads meant for rush-hour traffic and long stretches of road with no crosswalks in big cities are certainly part of the problem, but experts believe that a growing distracted driving trend and more big vehicles on the roads are mainly fueling this increase.

California, Texas, Florida, Arizona and Georgia made up close to half of the total pedestrian fatalities for 2018. While these areas have been experiencing population growth, many officials don’t believe that is central to the troubling development.

Tom Ellington, a pedestrian safety expert in Macon, Georgia, pointed out that his city has essentially spent years building a transportation infrastructure that was designed for cars rather than people. In Macon, there are many thoroughfares that are also state highways, a type of road that is more likely to be the site of fatal pedestrian accidents. According to Ellington, the city has a lot of residents who are dependent on public transit or walking to get around, and this makes them more vulnerable to roads that are are primarily meant and designed for rush-hour traffic and larger trucks.

The absence of crosswalks in these types of areas is also a problem because it means there is no place where pedestrians can cross safely. Many times, crosswalks are placed too far apart when they are installed. Research has discovered that most people will not walk more than 300 feet to reach a crosswalk.

A lack of sidewalks is certainly one part of the problem, but other safety experts also believe that having more larger vehicles on the roads like SUVs and the increased use of smartphones by drivers and pedestrians are also big factors. Pedestrians who are struck by SUVs are more likely to die than pedestrians who are hit by cars, according to Richard Retting, the author of the GHSA report. In addition, drivers and pedestrians alike are using cell phone data 4,000 percent more than they did a decade ago, which means less focus on the road.

Distracted driving isn’t just limited to mobile phone use. In Florida, for example, there is proposed legislation that would give police the ability to ticket a driver for any type of distracted behavior, including petting a dog or yelling at kids. A similar law is already on the books in five New England states, and those states have seen a 36 percent drop overall in fatalities so far. One of those states, Rhode Island, actually saw a 60 percent decrease.

Pedestrian accidents often have serious consequences for the person on foot. If you have been hurt in a pedestrian accident, seek legal help from the best pedestrian accident lawyer Denver, CO offers as soon as you can.

 


 

Thanks to Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into personal injuries and pedestrian accidents.

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